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  • Head Start: President's Scaremongering Won't Work

    On Tuesday, President Obama criticized Representative Paul Ryan’s (R–WI) budget proposal as making “draconian cuts” to federal spending programs. In particular, the President said, “If this budget becomes law and the cuts were applied evenly, starting in 2014, over 200,000 children would lose their chance to get an early education in the Head Start program.”

    The clear implication is that over 200,000 children will somehow be harmed by not attending Head Start—a “Great Society” preschool program intended to provide a boost to disadvantaged children before they enter elementary school. This would be true only if Head Start were an effective program that benefits the children it serves.

    However, the 2010 Head Start Impact Study, a scientifically rigorous evaluation of multiple Head Start sites throughout the nation, clearly found that the program is ineffective at providing a boost to children while in kindergarten and the first grade. The study placed almost 5,000 three- to four-year-old children eligible for Head Start into two treatment conditions based on a lottery. The children who won the lottery were awarded “free” (taxpayer-paid) access to pre-kindergarten Head Start services, while the others either did not attend preschool or sought out alternatives to Head Start. Contrarily to providing a boost, the program had little to no positive effects for children granted access to Head Start.

    For the four-year-old group, access to the program failed to raise the cognitive abilities of Head Start participants on 41 measures compared to similarly situated children who were not allowed access to Head Start. Specifically, the language skills, literacy, math skills, and school performance of the participating children failed to improve.

    Alarmingly, access to Head Start for the three-year-old group actually had a harmful effect on the teacher-assessed math ability of these children once they entered kindergarten. Teachers reported that non-participating children were more prepared in math skills than those children who participated in Head Start. Head Start failed to have an impact on the 40 other measures

    The American public should have nothing to fear from the President’s scaremongering. Reducing funding or even eliminating the ineffective Head Start program would not harm children. In fact, the Obama Administration appears to be delaying the release of a long-overdue evaluation of the effectiveness of Head Start on third-grade outcomes.

    If there is one program that deserves to be on the chopping block, it is Head Start.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Head Start: President's Scaremongering Won't Work

    1. Bobbie says:

      They should take every successful American to see how many of them received tax paid "head start?" Did the President and the Mrs. get a head start? By discrimination? that's how they admit to allow it for some today? "some."

      All it's ever been is a (great concern) free day care that if parents really love their children, they wouldn't put their children in the hands of government (and their hidden agendas) and rather find a suitable day care at their expense and their responsibility as parents, care giver, etc!

      Can you imagine non union daycare capitalism, people!? Like it was before this overbearing intrusion!
      It's within your control, DON'T GIVE IT TO GOVERNMENT!

      People have to gain some dignity and take care of their matters on their own and stop giving government ANY reasons to take over America's freedoms by unconstitutional government abuse!

      The goal is independence not government dependents!

    2. Steve says:

      Did you read the study?….it says:

      "Head Start Experiences
      Providing access to Head Start was found to have a positive impact on children’s preschool experiences. There are statistically significant differences between the Head Start group and the control group on every measure of children’s preschool experiences measured in this study. These effects were found both for the 4-year-old cohort and for the 3-year-old cohort when they were initially admitted to Head Start. The measures that were examined included, but were not limited to, teacher qualifications, including their training and education; classroom literacy and math instructional activities; classroom teacher-child ratios; the nature of teacher-child interactions; and global measures of the care environment as measured by ECERS-R/FDCRS scores." Maybe you need to ask how the gains made in Head Start are supressed by the one size fits all school system.

      Head Start Works!

      • Bobbie says:

        yeah, I read the study! stop tax dollar funding! PEOPLE FIGURE IT OUT! the only gains made in head start are over paid babysitters that only give the affection their trained to and parents less the expense. Children lose a lot under controlled government system and so do the parents. There's countless trouble having to go through a government system regarding any complaints when the government constantly protects their own from accountability then it is to pay a private daycare where problems (if any) are accounted for and resolved. There's sincerity when the daycare giver is self governing then those paid and influenced by an outside government! There's a bonding of trust between the daycare giver and parent where as head start obligates trust. Can't even get a back ground check!

        Private daycare works better in every area! More communication between parent and care giver! Less chance of miscommunication or lack of communication. If parents want head start then those providing it should do it at the parents level within the parents means! It's a parental responsibility American parents lived up to for the protection, safety and trust daycare services provide children as American children being that important to American parents! Bringing government into the daycare of everyone's children is never the answer.

    3. Pragmatic says:

      One problem with the study cited here is that it doesn't track the children over a long enough time period. Other research suggests that preschool (not necessarily head start) is very advantageous over the long-run. So, maybe we shouldn't let the government run these programs but rather subsidize these poor children to attend private preschools?
      http://jenni.uchicago.edu/papers/Heckman_Moon_eta

      • Bobbie says:

        anything promoting "government subsidies" is not the answer, Pragmatic. All money given to government is in the control of government who can tell us what they're doing or going to do with the money without it coming to be. Parents can negotiate with the day care provider without government involvement where subsidies need not be. It's always been a parental responsibility that obviously needs to be retaught.

        There's no reason people can't plan their own parenting responsibly according to their own means and for those who "accidentally" made a "mistake" that adds to the population, can relieve themselves by giving their children up for adoption or do everything in their power not to. Let people take care of their own within their means. It's what keeps Americans free!

    4. Jen says:

      The facts about head start are irrelevant. It is simply a program to target poor families and 'connect' them with 'services' they are entitled to. Talking to liberals who run or otherwise support head start will tell you the same. 'helping' the disadvantaged by providing 'free' and 'educational' services encourages more dependence and therefore a larger voter base. It's a smart and simple political policy. It works and liberals know it. Facts are irrelevant and they will defend it to the grave. It's like letting illegal immigrants vote, what politician who wants more votes would be against that? political suicide.

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